We plan to attend a sunrise service this Easter Sunday at Red Rocks in Colorado, along with thousands of other worshippers. 14,000 people attended the last service.
Organizers recommend arriving no later than 5 am. I am not a morning person. Do we find a hotel to stay in nearby or do we make the hour and a half drive from Breckenridge that morning? I think the former—although, if half the people attending have the same idea, we’ll be sleeping in the car.
Regardless of the likelihood of my bleary-eyed state, I am excited. Someone I chatted to the other day, who had attended, told me the location, the sunrise and the atmosphere are amazing.
It must be the same for pilgrims who go to Jerusalem during Easter week. They jostle shoulder to shoulder in the narrow streets of the Old City as they follow the Via Dolorosa, attend services in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and at the Garden Tomb.
I’ve been to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was busy enough then, and it was nowhere near Easter time.
Long lines of people waited to get on their knees below an altar to kiss a silver disc marking the spot where Jesus’ cross stood. Others ran their hands over the Stone of Unction where Jesus’ body laid after his death. Yet more men and women lined up to enter the tomb of Jesus in a large ornately decorated structure under the high dome of the church.
I struggled to participate in the traditions. Clearly, many people found it meaningful.
In my heart I know the physical place where we worship Jesus is not important.
Jesus told us to worship in Spirit and in Truth.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t stay long in Jerusalem. He told the women, who came to anoint his body with spices, to tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee. He told them to go back home.
There he cooked a simple meal of fresh fish over a fire on the beach. Can you imagine how precious a time that must have been for his followers? Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Jesus took a seven mile walk with friends, and their hearts were warmed.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman a time was coming when people would worship in Spirit and Truth.
We live in that time.
We worship in Spirit because Jesus made the pouring out of God’s Spirit possible. We worship in Truth because Jesus said: I am the Truth.
As worshippers we do not have to go to a specific place, instead Jesus meets us right where we are in our ordinary day-to-day lives.
Our devotion and praise need not be confined to Red Rocks or Jerusalem or any other place. With God’s Spirit dwelling within us, we can worship freely in every place, all the time.
We may have a wonderful experience this Easter, but it’s in our normal activities we find true meaning.
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Linking up with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus and Arabah Joy at #GraceandTruth
Great post Rachael! I have never been to Israel, but I would love to go so much! Part of me wants to see the different spots that are talked about in the Bible. However, I am like you in that the other part of me is much more interested in the living Christ than the artifacts of His time here on earth. He is risen! This Easter week has been one of true intimacy for me and Jesus and I am loving Him so! Happy Easter to you and your family!
Jessica, how beautiful that you are having true intimacy with Jesus this Easter. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? We can have intimacy with him because He is Risen. Hallelujah! Happy Easter.
Thank you for this Rachel. This morning I’m struggling with a mountain of to-do’s to prepare for Easter weekend and how to gracefully manage the competing needs of my children, work, dog, and house. It is such a great comfort to consider that Jesus is meeting me right here, through all these moments.
Rebecca, yes, call out to him in those moments and he’ll be right there with you. Happy Easter.
Rachel, I’m so glad we have that freedom to worship God in any place, at any time. Thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice we can freely approach the throne of grace with pure confidence, not worrying about anything else. That is simply amazing!
Thanks for sharing your reflections and inspiring us to live godly lives in the day to day.
Am just now reading this now, and after the high holy days of Easter. But you have answered a question I asked myself during a beautiful Good Friday service I attended at my church. I wondered, “What is next? Do we have to wait until Christmas and Advent for our next collective, meaningful, directed, recollection of Christ and our salvation?” I was so thirsty to mourn and then celebrate Christ, and was afraid of the long spell between Easter and Christmas. But what’s next is exactly as you’ve written: the day-to-day and ordinary lives, when we lean on the Spirit and Truth of Christ’s story. Thank you for answering my Good Friday question.
Melissa, thank you for lovely comment. I’m so glad God spoke right into your Good Friday question through my post. Love when that happens. Enjoy the day-to-day with your Lord.